58 Smart Questions to Ask When Renting an Apartment

Renting an apartment (especially for the first) is not the time to be shy. There are important questions to ask when renting an apartment so you don’t get surprised after signing the dotted line.

However, if you’ve never rented before or had a prior bad experience, knowing what to ask is half the battle. Here are 58 questions to ask before completing an apartment application and questions to ask when touring an apartment.

young woman in a new apartment on the background of cardboard boxes

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Questions to Ask when Renting an Apartment

Why should you ask questions when renting an apartment?

Knowing these questions to ask before renting an apartment will save you a lot of time, money, and stress. Applications usually cost money for the administration, background check, credit check, etc. And if you sign a lease, then you have a binding contract that will be very expensive to break.

These apartment questions can help you avoid wasting time and getting into a bad living situation.

So if you’re debating whether an apartment question is appropriate to ask, ask it anyway. Don’t be afraid of asking a dumb question. No question is too miniscule, and nothing can be assumed or taken for granted.

You should also be asking apartment questions throughout the renting process. To help you stay organized, this list of questions to ask when renting an apartment is categorized like so:

  • 7 Availability Questions
  • 9 Apartment Pricing Questions
  • 10 Questions to Ask when Viewing an Apartment
  • 12 Amenity-Related Questions
  • 8 Application Questions
  • 10 Questions for First Time Apartment Renters
  • 10 Questions when Renting for College

At the end of the list is a printable with all these apartment questions.

7 Availability Questions to Start Apartment Hunting

One of the biggest time savers you’ll find while apartment hunting is here in availability questions to ask before renting an apartment.

During an apartment hunt, it’s important to be strategic about your time so you don’t drive across the city to look at an apartment complex that has no availability.

Some of these apartment questions you can find answers to online. Others, you’ll need to call ahead of an apartment tour to ask.

  1. What units do you have available right now? In the next few weeks?
  2. Do you have a __ bed and __ bath available right now? In the next few weeks?
  3. When will that apartment be available?
  4. Are you expecting to have any __ bed and __ bath available soon?
  5. How often do you update the availability on your website? 
  6. Should I check the website or call for the most accurate information?
  7. Do you process move-ins on the weekend (Saturday or Sunday)?

10 Pricing Questions to Ask before Renting an Apartment

Next in this list of apartment questions is price. Before you get to these questions, you should have created a solid budget based on your income and existing expenses.

From the budget, you should know how much you can spend on rent and utilities. Yes, don’t forget to calculate utility costs when assessing whether or not you can afford an apartment.   

If you have no idea how to make a budget, here are some financial tips and resources to get you started.

  1. What is the base rent price for the ___-month lease term?
    • Make sure to ask about other lease terms or where you can go view the other lease terms.
  2. How much higher must my income be than the rent for my apartment application to be approved?
    • A complex may have a stipulation that your income has to be 1.5 or 2 times higher than your rent.
  3. What is included in the base rent price? What are the additional fees that I should expect to pay?
    • Example: Is there an amenity fee? If so, how much is it per month?
  4. What are the fixed or variable fees for utilities and services, such as:
    • Valet trash collection?
    • Trash disposal?
    • Pest control?
    • Water?
    • Sewage?
    • Administration Fees for utilities?
    • Amenities?
    • Maintenance?
    • Internet and Cable? (if included)
  5. How will I be billed for those utilities and services?
    • Monthly? Annually? With rent or separately?
  6. How much renters insurance do you require?
    • Do you have a plan that renters can opt-in to and pay monthly with their rent? 
    • If so, how much does it cost per month?
      • You will need to budget for a renters insurance plan, ideally one that covers the apartment and your things, should they be stolen or damaged. I use Lemonade for renters insurance.
  7. Is the apartment furnished or unfurnished?
    • How much per month is the furnished option?
  8. Do appliances come with the apartment?
    • Are there additional charges for any appliances, such as a washer or dryer?
  9. Are there any discounts I should be aware of?
    • Example: For paying my rent early or in advance?
  10. Are you offering any specials right now?
    • Some places will offer a Visa gift card or money off the first month of rent if you lease by a certain date.

9 Questions to Ask when Touring an Apartment

Going on an apartment tour is almost a must when it comes to apartment hunting. Experiencing the local area and getting to know the apartment complex will aid you in deciding which apartment to pick. Narrowing down the search is apart of the apartment hunting checklist and renting process.

Taking an apartment tour is not the time to be shy with apartment questions. You can still show respect and good etiquette when viewing an apartment–and get your questions answered.

Here are security and apartment-related questions to ask when viewing an apartment.

  1. This model apartment looks great. Can you tell me what’s included in the apartments and what is decoration?
  2. Does the style of the model apartment match exactly the style of the apartment I’m interested in?
    • Ex: Will the stainless-steel appliances be in my apartment, too? Will the hardwoods be this color in my apartment, too?
  3. Is there any type of alarm system built into the apartment?
    • How easy would the install process be?
  4. How does sound travel through the walls?
    • Will I be able to easily hear my neighbors?
  5. What are the internet and cable options for this complex?
  6. What rules are there regarding decorating the apartment?
    • Can I mount frames or televisions on the wall?
    • Can I paint the walls a different color?
  7. What security measures do you have in the apartments, hallways, walkways, amenities, garages, parking lots, etc.?
  8. Are there any courtesy officers living on site?
  9.  What are your leasing office hours?

12 Amenity Questions to Ask the Leasing Office

One of the perks of apartments is that you get a lot of great bonuses and amenities. But to make sure you can enjoy them to their fullest, here are some amenity-focused questions to ask when touring an apartment.

  1. Pool
    • What are the pool hours? 
    • Are there any regulations on bringing guests?
    • Is there a public shower by the pool?
  2. Business Office/Center
    • What are the hours of the business office?
    • Are there printers available? Does it cost to print?
  3. Gym
    • What are the hours of the gym?
    • What type of equipment is available in the gym?
    • Are there any gym classes offered during the week?
    • Is there a locker room to keep my belongings?
    • Is there a public shower by the gym?
  4. Other
    • What other amenities do you have available?
    • Ex: dog park, free coffee, free beer, meeting rooms, etc.
    • How do you handle package delivery?

8 Application Questions to Ask when Renting an Apartment

Typically, an apartment complex or landlord has an application process before they offer a lease to a potential resident.

Understanding this process is key to making sure you get your application in with the required documentation before the apartment is leased to someone else. That’s why these apartment questions are important to note down and ask the leasing agent.

  1. What is the application process?
  2. What information do I need to have available when I’m filling out the application?
  3. How long does it take to fill out the application?
  4. What are the fees associated with the application?
    • Are there any fees I should expect to pay upfront?
    • In what forms of payment can I pay those fees? (Check/Money Order/Debit Card, etc.)
  5. What are the next steps after my application is approved?
    • How will I know that my application is approved or why it was denied?
  6. How long can you hold an apartment in my name before I move in? 
    • In case the apartment is not available immediately or if you don’t want to move in immediately
  7. What steps do I need to take between the application approval and moving into the unit?
  8. What is the estimated range for the security deposit?
    • What factors determine the amount of the security deposit? (Usually depends on credit score among other factors.)
    • In what forms of payment do you accept security deposits? (Check/Money Order/Credit Card, etc.)

10 Questions to Ask when Renting in College

When renting an apartment for college, you’ll want to ask all of the above questions, too. On top of that, here are specific questions to ask when renting an apartment in college:

  1. Do you allow guarantors?
    • If you’re on a college salary, you probably don’t make enough to afford rent without a little help. Guarantors allow you to rent an apartment you can’t afford on your own income.
  2. Do you offer individual leases? 
    • This means you’re only responsible for paying your part of the rent and can’t be kicked out because your roommates didn’t pay.
  3. Do you offer any roommate matching programs?
    • How are people matched in those programs?
  4. Do you offer any flexible lease terms? 
    • For complexes that target college students, leases are typically 12 months long. Make sure to check if you’re looking for something different.
  5. What utilities am I responsible for? 
    • What utilities are flat rates? 
  6. Am I responsible for setting up the utilities? 
  7. How am I billed for the utilities?
  8. How does the subletting process work? 
    • If you’re not going to be near campus during the summer, you may want to sublet your apartment. Otherwise, you’ll be responsible for paying the rent even though you’re not there. Some complexes don’t allow subletting or charge a fee.
  9. Do you offer furnished apartments?
    • If so, is there an extra cost?
  10. What types of furnishings are included in furnished apartments? (ex: full bed, living room couch, coffee table, etc.)

Top 10 Apartment Questions for First Time Apartment Renters

Whether you’re a first-time renter or a fifth time renter, the list above includes important questions to ask before renting an apartment. Now, let’s highlight what to ask when renting an apartment first time apartment renters.

When I rented my first apartment, I found out the answers to some of these questions the hard way. I’ve included these 10 apartment questions (some repeats) because I hope you don’t have to learn that way.
  1. What is the estimated range for the security deposit? 
    • What factors determine the amount of the security deposit?
  2. How much renters insurance do you require?
  3. How does sound travel through the walls?
    • Consider living on the top floor and in an interior apartment not facing the street if you think this will be an issue.
  4. This model apartment looks great. Can you tell me what’s actually included in the apartments and what is decoration?
  5. Does the style of the model apartment match exactly the style of the apartment I’m interested in?
  6. What is the application process?
    • What information do I need to have when I’m filling out the application?
  7. How much higher must my income be than the rent for my apartment application to be approved?
  8. How long can you hold an apartment in my name before I move in?
  9. Do you process move-ins on the weekend (Saturday or Sunday)?
  10. What steps do I need to take between the application approval and moving into the unit?
When you’re ready to move, make sure to create a moving plan. Nobody likes to move, so why not make things easier?

Printable – Questions to Ask Before Renting an Apartment

With such a long list, keeping track of these questions to ask before renting an apartment probably seems daunting. Here’s a free printable list of apartment questions to ask when touring an apartment, applying, or doing your initial research.

a mock up of the downloadable printable of questions to ask when renting an apartment

Apartment Questions

Going apartment hunting is no small task. However, having an apartment checklist prepared can help with managing options and guiding the research process. When scheduling and preparing for apartment tours, you’ll want to follow proper apartment viewing etiquette to respect your time and theirs.

As you’re apartment hunting, resist the urge to be shy about asking questions. You want to know what you’re signing up for before signing any lease.

All 58 of these questions to ask when renting an apartment may not apply to your situation. But ponder thoughtfully the ones that do and keep track of answers to use in comparing places later on. Now go find an apartment–!

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